Event wannabees

Another CV dropped through our letterbox this morning, accompanied by a beautifully written diatribe (stretching to two sides of  A4) about how suitable the applicant was for a position in our company.

We get a lot of these, together with requests for work experience, and generally speaking we do take the time to answer them, offering advice and other avenues to explore.

It leads us to ask what are the three things that make a good eventer?

1. Flexibility – it’s not a 9-5 or ‘not in my job description’ type of profession.
2. Versatile – the ability to handle a diva and then five minutes later be clipping together thousands of VIP badges.
3. Relaxed – being able to take last minute changes, up to and beyond deadline without having a nervous breakdown is essential.

Getting involved

How often have you met an old friend at a Wedding, Christening or perhaps a Funeral and mutually agreed that it is terrible that you haven’t kept in touch?  You share a drink or two, maybe even exchange new phone numbers and fervently promise that you will call.  Then you put the piece of paper in your pocket and don’t find it again until you wrestle your jacket out of the closet for the next formal occassion.

Business relationships can be the same: you meet someone, you take their card and promise to call; a great colleague goes off on a new venture and you vow to keep in touch; you meet a potential client at an event and take a note to set up a meeting.

And time passes.  And more time.  And then the moment is lost.

Maintaining relationships, whether they are personal or professional, takes time and effort.  You have to nurture and cosset them, feed them little and often in order to reap the rewards.


Yesterday I went to Ad:tech at Olympia in London. Great show. It was busy and vibrant and everything that a successful B2B expo should be.

Though I’m ashamed to admit it, it’s been a while since I’ve been to a trade show or event that I haven’t actually been working on.  Everyone in events should try it, because it is a great lesson in why people attend and what motivates them.  More importantly it helps you understand the barriers to attendance and why it is so difficult to attract visitors.

For starters – I was really motivated to go.  I’m being asked more and more about social marketing for events and when I read Marketing and other industry press there are terms I don’t understand and need to find more about.  I had also made an appointment to meet someone there for lunch, so I had a personal reason to attend.  In fact this is the 4th year I’ve been really motivated to go – and the first time I have actually made it.

I made the mistake of going into the office first, which meant that I was still there when the post came, so I opened it and of course there was something I had to deal with there and then.   This made me late leaving and I missed my intended train.

Getting into London was OK – but it was a two-change tube journey with a long wait at Earls Court – so by the time I got to the event it was already lunchtime.

The event was buzzing.  So buzzing in fact that I couldn’t get near any of the stands and the aisles were packed so browsing was difficult.  However I was really disappointed to see that even with lots of buyers and visitors working their way through the exhibition with purpose there were still exhibitors committing the sin of eating on their stands – no one want’s to be sprayed with pepperoni when they ask a question. 

I caught the end of some of the sessions which were filling every corner and had a cursory look around.  It’s tricky – a busy show is almost as unfulfilling for a visitor as an empty one – because you just can’t get near the stands and there is nothing more frustrating that having to stand two deep in an aisle for ten minutes to ask a simple question.

So I had lunch.  Then another brief look around, making a mental note of some of the services which I would look up later.  Then I left.  Why?  Because I was trying to make as much use of my time in London so I had arranged another meeting to go to that afternoon and needed time to get across town – something I suspect many tradeshow visitors do.

Was I glad I made the effort? Yes.  How much did I get from the event? Some.  What was the most beneficial thing I got from my visit? The event catalogue – because on the bus on the way to the meeting I saw a couple of adverts in the back from exhibitors that were so compelling that I am going to follow them up.

Hellen @missioncontrol

Technology strikes again

The job of a marketing manager is unrecognisable from when I started real work back in 1990.  Though I didn’t know it at the time I was incredibly lucky to find myself in a company that was at the forefront of investing in technology. I didn’t discover this until I moved onto my next job four years later in a FTSE100 company who thought that one b+w mini-mac between 40 was the right ratio.

I like technology – and find it relatively intuitive – so over the years I haven’t been phased by the introduction of spreadsheets and mailmerge, email broadcast systems, various content management systems etc.  I’ve even managed to build our company website with some help from a friendly designer.

But sometimes it would just be better to ask someone else to do it for you.  I’ve spent five hours this afternoon trying to work out how to get the company logo onto the top of this blog.  You see I thought I knew what I was doing because I’m not scared of CSS code.  But then it wouldn’t, no matter how nicely or aggressively I tried, let me put my own picture back on the top.  That’s five hours that could have been spent harranging the client who still hasn’t paid their bill or filling in the latest forms for the ICO.  Why?

Fortunately Google saved the day.  With just the right question I found a man who told me exactly what to do, and hey presto! my header is back.

Next time maybe I’ll ask someone – but then again probably not.

Hellen @missioncontrol